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October 12th, 2005

9th October 2005


It is 11 PM at night. I am returning from Mahim to Byculla by bus. The following words are knitting in my mind:


Dark, late at night

Lonely traveler (and that too woman!)

Dark, late at night,

Solace (public transport!)


I get into the bus – No. 4 Limited (distinctly written in red on the head)

Other women get in too

Ek Byculla Bridge, Ek Bhendi Bazaar , says the woman dressed in a rida .

While of my brethren, despised and hated is her community

But late at night, dark

She is a sister, a companion (in fear, in insecurity).


While on the seat, I am thinking in my head

Sometimes looking around, sometimes looking outside

Sometimes conscious, sometimes lost in my own stream of thoughts!


Each time I wake myself from self-indulgence,

I look around.

His neck is dropping off, down,

As the fat man dozes in the space and pace of the journey!

Sometimes waking, but asleep mostly

Perhaps this is one more element of peace

In this stressed out city!


Looking around I see,

A Mia with his heena dyed beard.

Old, white hair, skull cap

He sits facing others ( pun intended because he was sitting on the front double seat which faces the rest of the crowd in the bus )!


Lost again I am,

In my own thoughts,

The bus journey has come to an end

Another one to home begins …


Yeah! The bus journey ended and pleasant it was, despite my initial tensions of getting back home this late at night. From the bus stand, my home is at a distance of ten minutes. It requires walking through the stretch of the pavement which we know as Byculla Bridge .


This pavement is an interesting space in itself. In the mornings, it is a regular pedestrian space. But come night, when the street lights are on and the sky wears a black shawl, this pavement becomes a multifarious space in itself.


To begin with, there are school buses parked alongside the pavement. That is when I prefer walking on the road instead of the pavement because the buses completely cover the pavement. I fear if someone pops out of the bus while I am walking on the pavement and tries to force me into the bus to rape me. So I dodge, sometimes on the pavement, sometimes on the road.


Once I have crossed that stretch of the pavement, there is the other interesting stretch where men are sleeping, half naked, legs spread out. Some of them are doing dope. They will look at me eerily as I walk by and I look at them in amazement and wonder. Is the world around us so crazy that we need sanity in dope? I don’t know. And I cannot judge people who dope because different people do it for different reasons. Thin aluminum foil square pieces, some powder, a few needles and the hand – precisely the joint at the elbow and the SHOT!






Then, as I walk ahead, there are men sleeping in horizontal rows. Some have spread out their legs wide, as if it were a sexual gesture. I don’t know whether the lives of these men are lonely, wanting a companion. I don’t know these men. They only appear at night and by daylight, they are gone to a place I don’t know. As I walk by, I see a man who has one of his hands inside his shorts. Perhaps fondling his penis while trying to fall asleep and then, as he was doing this, he put his desires, fantasies and dreams to sleep (and the hand as well!). I think sex is also function of space and both space and sex have complex interplays with each other.


And finally, I reach the last leg of the pavement which has a little marble temple on the side and eateries on the other. The men sitting and talking here are localites, engaged in politics, local businesses, deals, etc. These men are different from those sleeping. I walk quickly with my head down and pass by. Thus ends the journey of the footpath.


As I walk, I see two shadows, both mine! Perhaps one of fear (future) and one of the present!


  1. October 12th, 2005 at 06:08 | #1

    hey nice journey description. seriously.
    thankfully it was a bus. i know the stares women get when they return home lat at night.. when they’re in local trains.

  2. October 12th, 2005 at 06:35 | #2

    u did not see the past…

  3. October 13th, 2005 at 03:21 | #3

    the journey – was it braving the fear or knowing it?